President Bush gave the best speech I've ever heard him give yesterday at Kansas State University.
About achieving peace:
"...One of my favorite ways to describe my belief in the capacity of freedom to help achieve peace -- not only security for the American people, but peace -- is to give people the example of my dad and me, in terms of Japan.
My dad was an 18-year-old kid and went to fight the Japanese. I promise you, a lot of folks here, relatives, did the same thing. They were called into action because the enemy had attacked us. They were the sworn enemy of the United States of America. It was a brutal war against the Japanese. Took a lot of lives -- Japanese lives and American lives -- to win that war. And, today, like my recent trip to the Far East, I sit down with Prime Minister Koizumi, who is the Japanese Prime Minister, and talk about the peace. Now, think about that. I particularly want the students to think about what took place when 18-year-old President 41 was fighting the Japanese, and 59-year-old 43 -- that would be me -- is talking to the Prime Minister of the former enemy about peace. And you know what took place? A Japanese-style democracy came to be."
About the NSA wiretapping controversy:
"These are not phone calls within the United States, it's a phone call of an Al Qaeda, known Al Qaeda suspect making a phone call into the United States. If [terrorists] are making a call to the United States, we need to know why, to protect you.
It's amazing when people say to me, 'Well, he's just breaking the law.' If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress? Federal courts have consistently ruled that a president has authority under the Constitution to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance against our enemies. Predecessors of mine have used that same constitutional authority."
About decision making:
"In order to make good decisions, you've got to rely upon the judgment of people you trust. I'll never forget the first decision I had to make as the President. I wasn't even sworn in yet, and a fellow called me on the phone and he said, what color rug do you want to have in the Oval Office? You've got to be kidding me, man. He said, no, what color rug would you like to have in the Oval Office? I said, I don't know. He said, well, it turns out that Presidents -- you've just got to know Presidents design their rugs. I said, well, to be honest with you, I don't know much about designing rugs.
So I called, I delegated -- that's one of the things you do in decision-making. I said, Laura, how about helping design the rug? Part of being a decision-maker, though, is you've got to help -- you've got to think strategically. And so I said to her -- she said, what color do you want? I said, make it say this: optimistic person comes here to work every single day. You can't lead the nation, you can't make good decisions unless you're optimistic about the future.
So for the students here, as you take over organizations or head out of college and become involved in your life, you've got to be optimistic about -- if you're going to lead somebody. Imagine somebody saying, follow me, the world is going to be worse. That's not a very good organizing principle about which to lead people. I'm optimistic about our future, and the reason I am is because I believe so strongly in what America stands for: liberty and freedom and human rights, and the human dignity of every single person."
I encourage you to read the entire speech. It's fantastic.